MORE than 80 concerned locals turned up to a meeting on the weekend over the poor health of the Brearley and Bungana Lakes in Maylands.
The lakes are suffering toxic levels of algae. Stenches waft up towards nearby houses. Fountains have had to be turned off to avoid kicking up nasties into the air. The wildlife’s generally unhappy and many dog owners let their pooches run wild down there, and recently a dog was spotted running off with a turtle in its mouth.
Bayswater councillors Catherine Ehrhardt, Dan Bull and Sally Palmer along with environment staff met with the locals to hear them out and explain the plan.
Cr Ehrhardt says the council can’t do a lot until the one-year water quality monitoring program’s finished (otherwise they don’t have data from the whole year round). Whatever happens could be a long process but they want to get it right and not rush in, Cr Ehrhardt says: Eric Singleton Reserve took years of work and millions of dollars including state government funding to rehabilitate, but is “now an example of a very healthy wetland”.
Since the issues are common to other wetlands in the area, Cr Ehrhardt says “Cr Bull thought it’d be a good idea to form an initiative called Friends of the Maylands Lakes, and nearly 80 per cent of people [who attended] signed up,” and local Geoff Trott is the inaugural chair.
Along with the council plans, residents have a big slice of responsibility for the lakes and the group can help with educating locals: Some of the biggest problems are caused by so much nitrogen getting in the water. That’s being fed big time by people using nitrogen-rich fertilisers on their lawns that then run off eventually winding up in the lakes and fueling algae. One bloke’s even been spotted emptying his backyard pool into the storm drains, which go straight to the lakes (chlorine, pee and all).
The one year water quality monitoring ends around June and then they can start planning proper treatments.
Concerns from the locals noted on the day:
• stop people feeding ducks and geese, which adds to the build up in the lakes. Also someone picked up a goose. Signs are required saying not to do these things;
• the old brickworks site could have contaminated the ground over its century of operation;
• people need more education on which fertilisers and pesticides are lake-safe;
• in-water oxygenation is needed instead of fountains to reduce the algae risk;
• people let their dogs run rampant and don’t pick up their poo. Also, a dog ran off with a turtle in its mouth recently.
• there should be signs near stormwater drains showing people that they lead straight to the water bodies (Vincent paints dolphins near drains to discourage chem dumpers).
by DAVID BELL